Mead scores as England reach Euro final

Beth Mead

Leah Williamson, Lotte Wubben-Moy, Nikita Parris and Beth Mead all booked their place in the final of Euro 2022 on Tuesday night, as England defeated Sweden 4-0 at Bramall Lane. 

With Sarina Wiegman naming an unchanged line-up for the fifth consecutive game, captain Williamson and Mead were handed starts, while their Arsenal teammate Stina Blackstenius lined up on the other side. 

Sweden started strong on the night too, taking a direct approach to their play with a number of searching passes beyond the England defence. Blackstenius had a golden chance to open the scoring early on after being played through on the counter, but she dragged her effort and failed to finish past Mary Earps. 

Sweden continued to create chances and even hit the crossbar from a corner, only for England to go up the other end and convert their first real chance of the evening. The goalscorer, however, comes as no surprise to anyone. 

With a pinpoint delivery from Lucy Bronze, Mead cushioned the ball with a stunning first touch, swivelled and then fired past Hedvig Lindahl on the bounce to net her sixth goal of the tournament and continue her chase for the Golden Boot.

It was just the confidence booster England needed, and shortly after the restart, Bronze doubled England’s advantage, heading home from yet another outstanding delivery from Mead. 

Blackstenius had the chance to reduce the deficit with an instinctive effort inside the area, but Earps produced a fine diving save to keep her clean sheets intact. 

The best goal of the night, and maybe even the tournament, arrived just moments later. With a beautiful passing move around the edge of the area, Fran Kirby picked out Alessia Russo and the young striker saw her first effort saved at point blank range, before finishing at the second time of asking by backheeling the ball between the defender and goalkeeper. 

By this stage, England were ruthless and looked dangerous with every attack, and late on Kirby made it four with a chipped effort over Lindahl on the counter, meaning Wiegman’s side have now won all five of their fixtures at Euro 2022, keeping four clean sheets and scoring a remarkable 20 goals along the way.

"There's a lot of emotions running through the team, but I'm incredibly proud of the team tonight," said Mead in her post-match interview. "It's a proud night for us as a nation as well. [Sweden] started the game really well. They opened us up a little bit at times and it was a good time to get the goal. It gave us that extra energy to finish the first half well. The second half, we produced such a dominant display."

England will now prepare to face the winner of Germany v France, with the final set to take place on Sunday, July 31 (5pm). 

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